The Institute of Living

From the New York Times comes this story about Marsha M. Linehan, a psychologist at the University of Washington here in Seattle. It reads like a real-life inversion of Chekov’s terrifying story, Ward No. 6. It also has implications that readers of a certain novel published by Korrektiv Press might find interesting.

It was 1967, several years after she left the institute as a desperate 20-year-old whom doctors gave little chance of surviving outside the hospital. Survive she did, barely: there was at least one suicide attempt in Tulsa, when she first arrived home; and another episode after she moved to a Y.M.C.A. in Chicago to start over.

She was hospitalized again and emerged confused, lonely and more committed than ever to her Catholic faith. She moved into another Y, found a job as a clerk in an insurance company, started taking night classes at Loyola University — and prayed, often, at a chapel in the Cenacle Retreat Center.

Moved into the Y, found her faith: no Will Barrett she. Read the whole thing.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Or: The Sororal Korrektiv

    Brilliant catch, Mr Finnegan!

    Dr. Linehan found that the tension of acceptance could at least keep people in the room: patients accept who they are, that they feel the mental squalls of rage, emptiness and anxiety far more intensely than most people do. In turn, the therapist accepts that given all this, cutting, burning and suicide attempts make some sense.


    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      And seldom if ever has the ‘THINGS TO DISCUSS WITH WALKER PERCY‘ tag been more apt.

      If this is an appetizer for Bird’s Nest, know that my hunger to read, whetted for months, is now razor-sharp.

      • I really wish we had some indication as to whether or not she is still a Catholic. But wow, what a fantastic piece for Korrektivists

        • Quin Finnegan says

          I wrote a letter to her after I read the article, asking about DBT (I taught at a high school for at-risk youth a few years ago, so I don’t think it was too left field), and then worked my way back to questions about the Catholic element. After reading about the integration of Zen “Mindfulness” into the therapy, my guess is no, or that the Church is less of a driving force in her life now.

          But that the Church is brought up in a positive light in an article about mental health is fairly striking in itself. Maybe I’m wrong. If she has dropped it completely, that she speaks candidly about help she received at the time indicates that at some level she really hasn’t dropped it at all. Of course, whether one really can drop it entirely is debateable, I think.

          I can also imagine how it might not be included as part of a therapy that would be prescribed for others. And since the focus of the article is on the career she found out of her own experience, I can see how that information would be felt out. I’ll let you know what I learn, if anything.

  2. “Therapy does not work for people who are dead”
    ^^ brought me back to the Baltimore catechism back in grade(home)school:
    The grace of the Eucharist is no good to one’s soul that is dead in mortal sin.

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